Large Bowel Obstruction

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A large bowel obstruction is a blockage of the large intestine which prevents the passage of intestinal contents. Digestive function will be extremely compromised if food, fluid and gasses cannot continue through the large intestine. Necrosis of the intestine is also likely in cases of large bowel obstruction. There are two variations in what can cause a large bowel obstruction; mechanical obstructions and foreign body obstructions. Mechanical obstructions occur as a function of the body itself. Tumors and scar tissue can form from previous surgeries or cancers. Hernias, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease and severe constipation can cause the intestine to twist and narrow into a complete obstruction. Blockages can also occur when the intestine creates an intussusception; a telescoping formation. Anyone with a disease of the lower digestive tract is susceptible to the possibility of obstruction of the large bowel. Foreign body material can also create a large bowel obstruction. Children and adults with the psychological disorder pica will often eat things that are not digestible. The accumulation of foreign material in the intestine is referred to as a bezoar. Typically a bezoar is made up of hair (trichobezoar), fibers or seeds of vegetables and fruits (phytobezoar), or remnants of milk (lactobezoar) and stones (lithobezoar) but can be of any undigested material. Patients often present with cramping and belly pain which may be constant or may come and go. Large bowel obstruction will create pain at or below the umbilicus. There is often vomiting and constipation with a lack of gas passage. The belly is typically bloated with a large, hard feeling. After discussing symptoms and history of digestive issues, surgeries and procedures with the patient the doctor will do a physical examination. A hands-on examination can only tell the

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